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Gisella M. Vorderobermeier

This contribution addresses the methodological question of how to construct and analyse an extensive survey so as to allow for a reconstruction of literary translators’ habitus. It is based on a middle-scale survey amongst literary translators who translate from a range of languages into German and are (primarily) based in Germany, Austria or Switzerland. The questionnaire touched upon all areas deemed central to the respondents’ social trajectories, which are understood in this context as the social construction of (the reputation or personality of) a literary translator, thus ultimately aiming at a characterisation of the participants’ translatorial habitus. The question of how to construct a translation-sociological questionnaire in such a way that it allows for conclusions concerning the habitus of literary translators is central to this contribution, along with a consideration of which aspects within Bourdieu’s thought might be especially conducive to give interpretive structure to comprehensive “masses” of survey data. It is argued that we find an answer in some less frequently discussed theoretical undercurrents within Bourdieu’s œuvre, namely his “differential anthropology of symbolic forms” and the concomitant temporal dimension with its central concepts of project and protension reaching back to a phenomenological tradition. An outline is given of possible methodological steps which might follow from such a theoretical orientation.

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Vasso Yannakopoulou

The subject of style in Translation Studies is a comparatively underdeveloped area. Due to the longstanding tendency towards the translators’ invisibility, most of the interest in the topic has focused on the style of the source text and the degree in which it is transferred in the target text. Nevertheless, style in translation inevitably encompasses the translators’ own style as well, in other words the choices translators make that are not dictated by the source text or the target language and culture, but are particular to their own writing. Bourdieu has shown that matters of taste, aesthetic appreciation and production, including linguistic production, can be the result of strong dispositions generated by the habitus. It is the claim of this paper that habitus can constitute the theoretical tool to account both for the manner in which translators interpret their source texts as readers and the particular choices they make during the actual translation production as writers. Methodologically, a combination of macrolevel contextual factors that take into consideration the translators’ whole life trajectory, with microlevel textual ones will be proposed. Furthermore, it will be claimed that the existence of patterns of translation choices, as well as cases of deviance from the expected translation practices constitute strong indicators that these choices are motivated by the translators’ habitus, instead of being random or idiosyncratic. The above points will be tested against the case study of Yorgos Himonas’ rendering of Shakespeare’s Hamlet into Greek (1988).

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John M. Kirk

Abstract

This paper proposes a methodology for teaching students critical skills in corpus linguistics. The methodology comprises two pro formas: one for corpus searching, and one for reading scholarly articles. Through the use of these pro formas, students develop a critical ability which they can then apply to their own project work before submission for assessment.

Corpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory

Papers from the Twentieth International Conference on English Language Research on Computerized Corpora (ICAME 20) Freiburg im Breisgau 1999

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Edited by Christian Mair and Marianne Hundt

From being the occupation of a marginal (and frequently marginalised) group of researchers, the linguistic analysis of machine-readable language corpora has moved to the mainstream of research on the English language. In this process an impressive body of results has accumulated which, over and above the intrinsic descriptive interest it holds for students of the English language, forces a major and systematic re-thinking of foundational issues in linguistic theory. Corpus linguistics and linguistic theory was accordingly chosen as the motto for the twentieth annual gathering of ICAME, the International Computer Archive of Modern/ Medieval English, which was hosted by the University of Freiburg (Germany) in 1999. The present volume, which presents selected papers from this conference, thus builds on previous successful work in the computer-aided description of English and at the same time represents an attempt at stock-taking and methodological reflection in a linguistic subdiscipline that has clearly come of age.
Contributions cover all levels of linguistic description - from phonology/ prosody, through grammar and semantics to discourse-analytical issues such as genre or gender-specific linguistic usage. They are united by a desire to further the dialogue between the corpus-linguistic community and researchers working in other traditions. Thereby, the atmosphere ranges from undisguised skepticism (as expressed by Noam Chomsky in an interview which is part of the opening contribution by Bas Aarts) to empirically substantiated optimism (as, for example, in Bernadette Vine's significantly titled contribution Getting things done).

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Jan Aarts

Abstract

This paper deals with a number of methodological questions in corpus linguistics. It discusses various kinds of linguistic data and examines the nature and use of corpus data and the function of corpus annotation. These topics are put within the context of two recent issues in corpus linguistics: the new evidence that has become available from spoken corpora such as COLT and the spoken part of the BNC, and the renewed discussion of corpus linguistic methodology, notably about the distinction between the corpus-based and the corpus-driven approaches.

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Stella E. O. Tagnin

Abstract

A learner corpus can provide useful data to detect specific difficulties of language learners and consequently inform the production of pedagogic material to address these problem areas. The USP Multilingual Learner Corpus will initially be built in English, German and Spanish. A heading with detailed information about the student (course level, age, sex, mother tongue, etc.) will allow for different types of research. The corpus’s multilingual character will make it possible to look into difficulties common to all Brazilian learners, irrespective of language. Its varied content may also provide insights into the effectiveness of different methodologies.

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Kerstin Kunz and Ekaterina Lapshinova-Koltunski

Abstract

The present paper contrasts strategies of cohesive conjunction in English and German system and text. We clarify the notion of cohesive conjunction by discussing conceptualizations in the literature and by comparing cohesive conjunctions to other cohesive strategies. Using theory-informed methodologies we contrast the resources available in the two languages for explicitly establishing conjunctive relations of cohesion. Moreover, we discuss the first findings from our analysis of an English - German corpus of translations and originals, which reveal differences in the textual realizations in terms of frequencies and functions. Our study complements insights about other types of cohesion investigated in the frame of a larger research project.1

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Maria José Veiga

Designing an AVT module requires the development of both practical and theoretical approaches. Reflection on translation has taken place throughout the centuries, thus contributing to the shaping of a contemporary theoretical framework, and students must be made aware of these issues. However, it can be hard for translation teachers in general, and more particularly audiovisual translation (AVT) teachers, to approach translation issues with their students from a theoretical standpoint, particularly when the technical component of AVT courses seems so appealing when compared to reading texts. This article seeks to suggest some avenues for exploring scenes in films that relate directly to the discussion of some seminal texts on translation matters. The methodological approach posited here emphasises the use of films directly related to questions posed by the topic of translation: its aims, practices, limitations, and so forth. The main focus is on feature films, namely Lost in Translation(2003), The Interpreter(2005) and Babel(2006), so as to underline their potential grounds for theoretical reflection on translational dynamics, and to shed light on some methodological questions raised when approaching the complexity of (audiovisual) translation as a subject.

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Torikai Kumiko

This paper will illustrate how the method of oral history, based on life-story interviews, can be employed to inquire into translational habitus. It will argue that oral testimony, as an alternative form of looking at history, is a valid method in the study of habitus, because life-story interviews allow us to approach the issue of agency and subjectivity in interpreting, by enabling us to explore the habitus of interpreters from within through their own narratives. The paper will first examine the link between the concept of habitus and (auto)biographical data elicited from life-story interviews, review some of the methodological issues, and finally attempt to seek the potential of oral history as a method to identify the interpreting habitus. The methodological question of oral history will be discussed in terms of its validity, reliability and representativeness. For instance, some cast doubt on the truthfulness and correctness of narratives as evidence, and others maintain that oral history lacks consistency, a prerequisite for reliability. In addition, there are technical problems pertinent to oral data, such as interviewing techniques, transcribing processes, and the final analysis and interpreting of the data. Despite some possibly inherent weaknesses of the method, however, using oral data of life stories can be an effective tool in delving into habitus, a set of dispositions, attitudes, values, habits and skills. Since habitus is the product of individual history as well as the whole collective history of family and class, interpreters’ own voices should offer us a rich source for understanding their habitus.

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Jan Svartvik

Abstract

In the history of English language research on computerised corpora, the year 1977 marks an important event with the birth of ICAME – the International Computer Archive of Modern and Medieval English – which set off international co-operation on a large scale. The use of computer corpora, from being a fringe activity, has become a mainstream methodology. Yet there was corpus life also before ICAME. I have sometimes been asked why, in the unsupportive linguistic environment of the 1960s, I chose to become ‘a corpus linguist’ – there might have been moments when being so named felt like discovering your name on the passenger list for the Titanic. This contribution is very much a personal memoir of those early days when the first corpora were being compiled, when computers were rare, expensive, unreliable and inaccessible to ordinary folk – huge machines located inside glass doors and operated by engineers dressed in white coats, and when CD only stood for Corps Diplomatique.